“If you’ve got a census tract that has lost a lot of jobs, then it is a way you can apply to the Department of Community Affairs to get increased tax credits to recruit additional jobs,” said Leamon Scott, a local representative for DCA.
The loss of Pierre Foods and 350 jobs alone would qualify what is known as Census Tract 5 in Rome for the less developed census tract designation.
In a letter to DCA Commissioner Mike Beatty, Rome City Manager John Bennett called the loss of jobs from the Pierre Foods closure “devastating.” The Pierre job losses amount to 17.9 percent of the labor force in the tract.
The potential loss of another 765 jobs at Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital, targeted for closure on June 30, would also take place within the designated area.
If the area were to be approved for designation as a less developed census tract, a business creating at least five net new jobs would be eligible for a $3,500 tax credit.
Job creation remains a key task for community leaders.
“We’re looking in every pot, corner, crack and crevice,” said Assistant City Manager Sammy Rich.
Community Development Specialist Bekki Fox told the panel that the city is working to get the Hight Homes area at Turner McCall Boulevard and North
Fifth Avenue restored to the West Third Street Opportunity Zone. That would enable any new businesses in the mixed-use develop-
ment being created by Madison Retail LLC that create at least two new jobs to be eligible for $3,500-per-job tax credits.
Downtown Development Director Ann Arnold told the committee that her office is working on several loans for new projects in the downtown area and said that two months into 2011 the downtown district has shown a net addition of 84 new jobs.